Real Madrid talisman Cristiano Ronaldo and Tottenham strikers Harry Kane have been in excellent form, while the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Luka Modric have also caught the eye
Robin Olsen | GK | Sweden
Having worked so hard to keep Germany at bay in the second match of group play, Olsen did even better in shackling dangerous Mexico to ensure Sweden took top spot in Group F against all odds.
Diego Godin | CB | Uruguay
It is no accident that Uruguay stormed through Group A with the best defensive record of any team at the World Cup. Godin and Atletico Madrid team-mate Jose Maria Gimenez formed a formidable obstacle throughout the first round, and will have given Cristiano Ronaldo in particular food for thought as Uruguay prepare to take on Portugal in the last 16.
Yerry Mina | CB | Colombia
Sparsely used by Barcelona since moving from Palmeiras in January, Mina hardly looks to be affected by the lack of activity. Not only has the centre-back been a rock in defence, but goals against Poland and Senegal proved crucial in helping the Cafeteros through Group H in first place.
Domagoj Vida | CB | Croatia
Who would have guessed that in a defence that includes one Champions League finalist it would be Besiktas’ versatile star that came to the fore. Vida was pivotal in keeping Nigeria and Argentina away from goal in two consecutive clean sheets for Croatia in Group D and he proved an able partner to Dejan Lovren in one of the World Cup’s toughest back lines so far.Getty Images
Philippe Coutinho | RM | Brazil
While all eyes were watching Neymar as Brazil’s star came back from injury in a mixed start to the tournament, Coutinho was quietly steering the Selecao to the second round. A sparkling goal against Switzerland was followed by another decisive strike to finally break Costa Rica’s resolve, and the Barca man turned in generally strong performances in each of his nation’s Group E outings.
N’Golo Kante | CM | France
The Chelsea destroyer has been the glue that has thus far held together a France side that has struggled to channel its undeniable talent. Kante has played every minute of the tournament to date, directing play in front of a defence that only Mile Jedinak’s penalty has managed to breach.
Luka Modric | CM | Croatia
If the Real Madrid star is feeling any fatigue after yet another strenuous season at the Bernabeu he certainly has not shown it. A masterful performance against Argentina included a fine long-range finish with the game poised at 1-0, and if the midfielder can stay in form Croatia might just be considered as dark horses for this World Cup.
Hirving Lozano | LM | Mexico
The man known as ‘Chucky’ is well on the way to becoming Mexico’s latest football idol. Lozano showed his talent by running Germany ragged down the left wing in a famous El Tri victory, and was dangerous again in his nation’s win over South Korea that eventually saw them through to the last 16.
Isco | AM | Spain
By far Spain’s most impressive player in an unbeaten start to the 2018 World Cup, Isco netted against Morocco in a thrilling 2-2 draw and his wonderful dribbling and vision mean that he has been one of the most entertaining players to watch in Russia.
Cristiano Ronaldo | ST | Portugal
To put it simply, if it were not for their legendary scorer Portugal would most likely be packing their bags for the trip home right now. Ronaldo netted an incredible hat-trick against Spain to earn his side a point in the game of the tournament so far, before hitting the winner against Morocco to help his team move towards the last 16.
Harry Kane | ST | England
The Tottenham man is the World Cup’s top scorer and by far its most prolific, needing just 153 minutes to score five goals against Tunisia and Panama – just over half an hour per strike. Two of those goals came from the penalty spot, a good omen for the Three Lions perhaps given the proliferation of penalties helped by the extra scrutiny of the VAR.